Grahamstown is a week away. Literally. The first performances are Thursday the 28th – that’s Stories of Crime and Passion, the Shadow of Brel, London Road and Owl. That’s a hell of a day. In the fever of preparation it’s been hard to find time to write a meaning post on something significant like research or practical ideas on marketing and producing. Instead of writing it I have to be doing it. A pretty common excuse for artists, but ultimately we need to be writing down our thoughts for them to develop. Art grows when a thought is planted, in the hurly burly of production we have to find time to sit on a park bench and let our minds wander. It’s not that I can’t work under pressure, I can and do, but I can’t think freely under pressure. That stroke of insight, that ‘Ah ha!’ moment, needs space to happen. The gap between the first musing and the flash can be huge, sometimes years can pass before you’re ready to make an idea you had into art. That’s why I keep a notebook; it’s my external memory.
As much as this is fundamental to the personal act of making art, it is also crucial to the practical and social act of making art happen. The Cape Town theatre industry seems to have academic writing hanging around the university libraries and reviews at various points along a popular/critical spectrum. It’s hard to find out how people actually make art happen. It’s pretty much the point of this blog and I’ve been letting that down for the past month. So on the one hand, sorry, and on the other, let’s start a conversation about theatre that doesn’t happen over beer in smoky bars or in a library or a lecture hall. Let’s start talking about what it takes to make art in this country.